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My husband and I love the “Sandals” experience and vacationed at Sandals Regency La Toc for our honeymoon. For our next vacation, we wanted a resort that had a party scene and relaxing at the same time. Based on the recommendation from our travel agent, Nancy Finn at Island Getaways, we choose Sandals Ochi. This resort is one of the larger resorts that has numerous restaurants and a variety of daily activities. We opted for a butler suite and was provided a cell phone to access our butler for all our pampering needs. The staff was amazing, and the food was delicious. Nancy has assisted us with booking a family vacation to Beaches in July and our third Sandals trip to Haylcon Beach St. Lucia in September. She rocks!
All you need to know about Sandals Ochi, including Diving
Our 7th Sandals property was a 7-night stay at Sandals Ochi. I have listed bar/restaurant times and entertainment options below. My reviews tend to be lengthy so grab a beverage of choice and enjoy. If you have found this review helpful please click on the Helpful button below the review. Airport: We arrived in Montego Bay on Saturday afternoon and we were fortunate that our plane got one of the last gates at the terminal, meaning we had a very nice long walk to immigration. Immigration was chaos as usual and the immigration agents are all on island time, pack your patience. Next time we will look into getting the fast pass. Once we cleared customs and immigration we were off to the Sandals lounge. As always there was beer and soft drinks on tap and rum punch. Small snacks were also available. The odd thing is I was told to tip the guy outside the lounge that watches your bags since he is not part of Sandals. So if it's not a Sandals employee how safe that is it to leave your bags with him? After about a 30min wait our shuttle was ready. The shuttle ride is anywhere from 1.5-2hrs depending on traffic, the only nice thing is you get to tour the island on your way to the resort. There is a stop about an hour into the trip for a bathroom break, our driver decided to eat lunch at that time as we all sat in the shuttle waiting for him. Not a good start to the vacation. Resort: The resort is large, it's broken up into two parts Seaside and Hillside. There is a busy road between the two parts of the resort. You are not allowed to cross the road, you need to take a shuttle to the other side. Shuttles run every couple of minutes. The shuttle has 3 stops: Hillside lobby, Ochi Beach Club, and Riviera Seaside lobby. Check-In/Check-Out: When we arrived there were only 5 couples in the shuttle so check-in was a breeze. We were handed tablets to confirm our reservation and were quickly taken to our room. Resort Orientation There is resort orientation at 9:00am and 4:00pm every day at Hillside and Seaside lobbies. We rarely go to the orientation we like to explore on our own. Weather: The weather was great, it was hot and humid our entire stay. We were a bit worried since the forecast showed that it was going to rain all week. On some days we saw dark clouds rolling in behind the resort but they never made it to us. Mosquitoes: We are always concerned with mosquitoes but lucky there wasn't any rain during our stay and a slight ocean breeze which kept the mosquitos at bay. We did see the grounds get fumigated on several occasions. Grounds: The resort grounds have a lot of foliage and are well taken care of. There are koi fish swimming near the Seaside lobby. If you go to the Hillside there is a nice panoramic view of the island/sea. There are plenty of palm trees and different kinds of flowering bushes everywhere. But with plenty of trees comes a lot of cleanup, the pool that was in the Riviera Garden constantly had leaves/flowers falling into it, but the staff cleaned at least 3x a day so it wasn't a big issue. With flowering bushes you will see hummingbirds, we were by the Seaside spa and spotted a streamertail hummingbird around sunset time. Rooms: We stayed in the Riviera Bamboo River Grove Deluxe (DL) room on the 2nd floor, garden view, in the Ginger Lily building. Our room was not too far from a designated smoking area so we can smell the smoke on our balcony, needless to say, we didn't spend much time there. Our room matched the pictures on the website but it was in need of a facelift. The amenities consisted of a hairdryer, make-up mirror, hand soap, shower cap, mending kit (needles & thread), Q-tip, cotton balls, and facial tissues. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and body lotion provided by Red-Lane Spa. The safe that was in our room was larger than normal, we easily fit a laptop, camera, and all of our other valuables, with plenty of room to spare. Our room was small; we had a king-size bed, a dresser that we couldn't use since the drawers were falling apart, and a decent-sized Samsung Smart TV. The mini-fridge had a couple of bottles of Coke/Diet Coke/Sprite, several cans of juices, as well as bottles of water and Red Stripe beer. There was also a coffee maker with Blue Mountain coffee. The outlets in the room were 110v. The bed was too hard for my liking, I couldn't sleep the first two nights, until we asked for a mattress topper, after that sleep was much better. The maid service was great; our room was very clean every day. Bars: There are 10 bars at the resort with plenty of liquor to go around. The beer served at the resort is Red Stripe, which was a bit light for our taste. As far as the bars the drinks are pretty good but they use a lot of ice in the drinks so make sure to ask for doubles or have some premium liquor on the rocks. I do love that they have several different kinds of Appleton Rum. Premium liquor had Don Julio, Johnny Walker, Crown Royal, Absolute, and many more. The house wine is from Robert Mondavi. Dresscode: There is a dress code for all the restaurants is as follows: Resort Casual: Shorts or jeans, shirts with sleeves. No swimwear, casual footwear Resort Evening Attire: Dress pants or jeans for men, long or short sleeve dress shirts (with or without collar). Dress shoes or elegant sandals. No shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, sneakers, flip-flops, slippers, hats or caps Restaurants: We were very impressed with all the restaurants at this resort. The food and service was good at all of the restaurants. We didn't experience any wait times for dinner during our stay. This resort has 16 restaurants so there is plenty to choose from when it's time to eat. If you want to have the best meal at each restaurant stick to the signature dish. There are some healthier/vegetarian choices on the menu. Restaurant information is as follows. Keep in mind some restaurants are closed on certain days. Vista Sky - Beautiful terrace dining overlooking the sea. Lots of seafood specialties. The night we ate dinner the service was very slow, seemed like they were short-staffed. But the surf and turf was great. They tend to have a small breakfast buffet, during our stay there was never any hashbrowns at this restaurant. Resort Casual Breakfast:7:30am - 11am (Buffet style with made-to-order omelets) Lunch:12:30pm - 2:30pm Dinner:6pm - 9:30pm Closed:Monday for dinner Southern Table - A taste of the south. Loved the fried chicken and the beef brisket. Do yourself a favor and ask for a table outside, we ate inside while something burned on the grill, filled the entire eating area with smoke. Resort Casual Breakfast: 7:30am -11am (Buffet style with made-to-order omelets) Lunch: 12:30pm - 2:30pm (Buffet style) Dinner: 6pm - 9:30pm Closed: Monday for dinner Great House Cafe - Jamaican comfort food. Great for grabbing a quick snack by the Hillside pool. Loved the Jamaican beef patties. Resort Casual Hours: 11am - 6pm & 10pm - 5am Mariners Bar/Grill - Snacks by the Ochi Beach Club pool. The jerk burger and jerk chicken wraps were good. Hours: 11am - 5pm Bella Nepoli - your place for pizza on the Seaside Resort Casual Open: 11am - 6pm Le Gourmand - French cuisine. You can get made to order breakfast. For dinner, the braised lamb shank was the bomb. Resort Evening Attire Reservations Required Breakfast: A la carte 8am - 11am Dinner: 6pm - 9:30pm Closed: Tuesday Dinos Pizza - Pizza for the Hillside part of the resort Hours: 11am - 6pm Jerk Shack - everything jerk. Our favorite place for a snack. The fish in foil was to die for. Their menu is small but you can ask the server to get one of everything and they will bring out a platter. Hours: 11am - 6pm Tapas - grilled food right on the edge of the beach. The fish tacos and buffalo chicken wings are good. Hours: 10am - 4pm Valentinos - Italian Cuisine. I had the charbroiled beef filet but my wife’s grilled lamb chops were better. Resort Evening Attire Reservations Required Dinner: 5:30 - 9pm Closed: Sunday Soy - Sushi Bar, we stopped in for a snack each night before dinner. On our last day we showed up 2 minutes before closing, the chef was nice enough to let us in and made us an order to go. Great Service!! No Reservations Dinner: 6 - 9:30pm Closed: Monday for dinner The Reef Terrace - Terrace dining overlooking the sea with pan-Caribbean menu. Had a great Cuban grilled pork chop. Resort Casual Dinner: 6 - 10pm Closed: Saturday Neptunes - Mediterranean dining on the beach with your feet in the sand. The shrimp kabob and seared fish were awesome. Resort Casual Dinner: 6 - 10pm Closed: Monday & Thursday Manor House - Jamaican/Caribbean food. The braised oxtail was the talk of this restaurant. Resort Casual Dinner: 5:30 - 10pm Closed: Friday Kelly's Dockside - Grilled food on the dock overlooking the ocean. By far the best restaurant to have your dinner at, especially if you can get a reservation during sunset. The filet mignon was great. Resort Casual Reservations Required Dinner: 5:30pm - 9:30pm Closed: Wednesday Kimono - Hibachi - Food prepared teppanyaki-style right in front of you. The chefs are quite entertaining. Resort Casual Reservations Required Dinner: 6pm - 9:30pm Closed: Monday for Dinner Smoking: This is a smoke-free resort. There are a couple of areas designated for smoking around the resort. It's a great idea, you don't have to put up with guests that set up shop on the loungers next to you and end up smoking most of the day. Staff: We always rave about the staff at Sandals resorts, it is what keeps us coming back. We’ve interacted with so many staff members that it's hard to name them all. They all try to do everything possible to make your vacation as pleasant as possible. There were a few that we interacted with that seemed like they didn't like their job. Beach: This resort has the smallest beach area than any of the other resorts that we have visited. The only true beach is at the Beach Club. The rest of the resort the sea runs up practically to the resort walls, not much of an area to put a lounger and relax. The ocean water was calm and warm but still refreshing after laying out in the sun. There was no seaweed during our stay which was a plus. There was drink service at the beach albeit slow, we managed to run to the bar and get an extra round between the service. Bringing a Yetti tumbler is highly recommended. You can also rent out a private beach cabana. Beach Vendors: Since the beach doesn't have public access there are no vendors, no need to worry about someone disrupting your relaxation at the beach. Although the spa ladies do come by and ask if you would like to make an appointment to the spa, but they are not pushy, if you say “no” they walk away. There are also staff members that sell excursions but likewise, they are not pushy. Weddings: There were quite a few weddings at this resort (they do have the over-the-water chapel), on one day we witnessed at least 5 weddings. Every single day, wedding after wedding, who says people don't want to get married? With all these weddings I was considering becoming a wedding officiant and helping out. But the weddings start becoming an inconvenience to other guests. If you're at a bar waiting to have your drink order taken and a wedding party arrives, they get serviced first while you wait, even though you were there before them. We ended up walking to a different bar to get quicker service. If there is a wedding party on the pier it's closed off to everyone else, good luck getting some sunset photos. Candlelight dinner: We did have a candlelight dinner on the beach, it was the highlight of our vacation. You get to customize your menu. Upon arrival, there is champagne/wine and a rose for the lady. Dinner during sunset was magnificent. Entertainment: There is always something going on mostly at the Ochi Beach Club. Once the DJ starts playing music at 10am it doesn't stop until the pool closes at 5pm. There were plenty of activities that the entertainment team had prepared, but very few people were taking part in them. The nightly entertainment takes place around 9pm. The shows that we saw were worth seeing. The nightly themes were as follows during our stay. Monday – Beach Party - Carnaval Tuesday – Reggae Fest Wednesday – White Night - Chocolate Buffet Thursday – Festival of Arts - Talent Show Friday – Jamaican Day - Culture Show Saturday – Island Night - Steel Drum Band Sunday – Caribbean Night Sandals Returning Guest: The returning guest's dinner takes place on Tuesdays. It’s a nice way to spend time with the management staff, have an excellent dinner, and get to know the resort management. We were supposed to get an award this time around but we got missed, ended up arguing with management to get my reward. They do have a presentation about their Sandals Foundation but there is no pressure to donate. Pools: There are 4 pools on the Seaside, the main Sandals style large pool is on the Hillside. The activities take place at both the Hillside pool and the pool at the Beach Club. If you stay in the butler village you get your own personal pool. We spent most of our time at the Riviera Garden pool, it was the only non-swim up pool and away from the main areas of the resort. It was empty and quiet, you could relax and read a book. Jacuzzis: There is a large jacuzzi next to the Hillside pool, smaller jacuzzis could be found next to all the pools on the Seaside. We spent time in both the Riviera Garden jacuzzi and the Beach Club both were nice and hot. Towels: Towel racks are located around the pool/beach areas, grab your towels in the morning when they are fully stocked, during the day towels tend to run low until the afternoon when they get restocked. Spa: In our package, we had a $250 spa credit. We got a couples 30min massage, it was great, highly recommended, but you're still responsible for the service fee (can't apply credit to service fee), which ended up being $18. The wife also had a mani-pedi which she loved + $12 service fee. Mobile App: Sandals has a mobile app. It is great to see which restaurants are open, view their menus, check the weather, get a resort map, and which activities are on schedule for the day. Wi-fi: The wifi is spotty, just enough to check some email. When I speed tested it I got 3-4mb download and 3-4mb upload. Aqua Center: There are two aqua centers, one is near the Beach Club for your snorkeling and diving needs. The other is on the opposite side of the resort next to The Reef Terrace restaurant. This is where you can use the kayaks, hobie cats or paddle boards. Although not too many people were using them during our stay. Scuba Diving: The most disappointing part of our vacation. During our stay the aqua team was only doing one tank dives at 9am & 2pm, 11am were certification dives. If I would have known this I wouldn't have booked with the resort. You can do 2 one tank dives but that's going to take up most of your day, not to mention you as the guest need to carry all your rental gear from the aqua center, some 300+ ft to the boat and back once you return. The other Sandals resorts, the team has everything ready on the boat when divers arrive. The boat never left at 9am always late. Dive sites were 10-15min away. Sites we visited: Maffessanti Reef, Middle Reed, Dunns Deep, Ocho Rios Wall, The Katherine shipwreck. Dives were 30-35 min. The dive sites we went to there wasn't much to see. Dive guides seemed like they were miserable and did not even try to point wildlife out to divers, but they sure were happy to upsell you classes/night dives. I guess they might get a commission on how many classes they sell. Then when you bring your dive log in at the end of your stay and ask for stamps you get an attitude and told that you should have been doing it daily. Right, I’m going to stand in line every day, waste precious vacation time to get a stamp. By far the worst dive team I have experienced at Sandals. Golf: Golf(18-hole 71-par) is included with greens fees but we didn't do any golfing this time around. The shuttle ride is 15-20min. Sandals Select: Make sure to sign up for Sandals Select Rewards if you are a first time guest. You can earn points for your stays, get special discounts as well as get qualified for free nights. Soon Come Back: If you plan on returning to a Sandals resort, make sure to do your research on which property you want to go to next; and have a room category in mind. When we were at the resort they were giving an additional 12% off on top of the online pricing. If you know where you want to go next you will get a good deal. Gift Shop: The seaside gift shop is very small; they have a few articles of clothing, some snacks, sunscreen, mosquito spray, and souvenirs. Most items are on the pricey side but on par with what their other resorts charge. As always bring enough sunscreen/mosquito spray as it tends to be pretty expensive at the gift shops. Hillside gift shop is much larger. Taxi: Be careful when getting a taxi. We wanted to go about six blocks away to a church we wanted to visit, we were told we shouldn't walk but take a taxi. We were quoted $50 for 2ppl. No thanks, we walked there in 15min. Airport Duty Free: The Montego Bay airport is like any US airport, with plenty of duty-free shops and food options. Tanning Tip: Make sure to apply suntan lotion liberally when tanning and make sure to re-apply it at least once an hour. Also if you go into the ocean make sure to take a quick freshwater shower to get the salt off your body, the salt opens up your pores and exposes your skin that has no lotion on it, resulting in a quick burn. Explore the Island: Make sure to leave the resort and see the island. There are so many things to see and do in Jamaica. The sunset catamaran should be on the top of your list. Mystic Mountain adventure park and Dunns River Falls are nearby. Mini-routes gives you a more local experience while driving around in a mini cooper. We ran out of time but will definitely do the Blue Mountain bicycle tour next time. You get to bike down a mountain through the rainforest, you will see some coffee farms and a waterfall. Overall our stay was good with a few hiccups along the way. If you have any additional questions feel free to message me, I’ll do my best to answer. If you found this review informative feel free to hit the Helpful button below. Happy Travels.
Sandals is just a big scam these days. Horrible lying people!!! Only start to tell the truth after refund date. Go anywhere else but a sandals. Restaurants are closed, golf closed. Oh they will be happy to tale all of your money and give you 20 percent of what you paid for though.
Please read before booking with a Sandals Resort
We were just notified this morning that they will keep Sandals Ochi closed until February. We have been booked for this vacation and Sandals decides to notify us 6 days before our flight!! December 17th was supposed to be their reopening day. We waited because we wanted to return to our honeymoon destination. We have planned this trip for 5 years. Their only resolution is to send us to Negril or South Coast which we don’t want to stay in. When we tried to cancel our trip they told us we can’t because it is after their 14 day cancellation period, BUT they cancelled on us 6 days before our trip and now want to force us to stay at a resort they pick. We have been on the phone with them for 5 hours and they will not find a solution. If we cancel we lose our money. If not we have to go to the resort they pick. I’m honestly appalled at how Sandals is trying to resolve their last minute changes.
You only plan on one honeymoon- so save yourself the disappointment and look elsewhere. It was no-where near what i would consider luxury. Not even a little. The airport shuttle driver was amazing. Probably the highlight of our trip. Once we arrive we were herded into a room for check-in with about 50 other people. Not worth it to book a room with a pool either. The pools are freezing cold. I spent a little extra to be in a shared pool suite with a butler. So it was just us and one other room next door sharing a pool. Which was actually pretty weird. Also, you can’t tell if you don’t know, but the room we had booked was like 2 miles from the beach. The “butler” thing feels like a scam. After we got home i did some research and apparently this resort of all sandals is probably the worst. The good stuff: unlimited ice cream
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